At CES 2010 in Las Vegas this week, Intel announced its Core i5 microprocessor, code named “Arrandale.” This is the next generation processor and a step above the current Core 2 Duo that has been featured heavily in consumer computers since 2006. The Arrandale processor is manufactured using Intel’s new 32 nanometer production technology. It also supports hyperthreading, more commonly known as simultaneous multithreading. According to Intel’s website, this allows each core in a hyperthreading-capable processor of executing two simultaneous threads each.
The real news is that this new chip will be able to bring the Nehalem architecture to laptops, including the MacBook and MacBook Pro. The next fastest new processor after the Core i5 “Arrandale” is the Core i7 “Lynnfield,” a four-core chip. This means that we could be close to having a quad-core chip inside a notebook, albeit a probably expensive, high-end notebook.
Some benchmarks leaked a couple of days ago that compare the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 processors and the performance improvement is impressive. It shows an 11% to 30% speed increase compared to the Core 2 Duo processor, depending on which benchmark is being considered. According to these benchmark results, the overall speed improvement is 19.4% over the current processor.
According to Anandtech, there was no significant change in battery life. Given the significant performance boosts and no real decrease in power consumption, it looks like the Arrandale processor will be a welcome upgrade to all computer manufacturers, not just Apple, who are in the mid- to high-end laptop market.
It will be interesting to see what impact the Arrandale chip has on mobile computing. While likely it will be only an evolutionary step forward, rather than a revolutionary one, it will certainly be a welcome improvement.